There are four types of people in the world. Alright, there are way more than four, but for the sake of argument, let’s have fun with the idea.
There are four types of people.
The first type puts the shopping cart back in the cart corral in the grocery store parking lot after they’re done with it. This is the classification to which most of us belong. Most people are good, responsible, considerate and kind. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
The second type of person (gasp) leaves the shopping cart in the parking space for the store’s cart wranglers to put away. Let’s not dwell too long on this. I’ll tell you why. In 2008, the day after we brought my first daughter home from the hospital, I left the cart in the parking lot. I hadn’t slept in three days and I genuinely didn’t have the wherewithal to know I left the cart until someone parked nearby castigated me for it. I had, nevertheless, done the deed. And I now wonder how many derelict carts are the product of a similar situation.
This brings me to the third type of person. This person takes to social media and waxes indignant over the scum who don’t uphold the shopping cart clause of the social contract. Some of this outrage is probably a projection of other frustrations in their lives, but I have no doubt that many of these individuals are good people and their indignation is righteous, however unhelpful.
I say unhelpful because the complaints generally don’t accomplish a dang thing other than getting others’ emotions inflamed. That brings me to the fourth type of person.
This person quietly takes the cart left in an empty parking space and either puts it away or brings it back into the store to shop. There is no fanfare. This person never considers what this simple task might yield as a reward. There is no concern with who gets credit for taking care of the problem. And perhaps most importantly, this person actually solved a problem. This is what leaders do.
Almost a century ago, on a mountain on the other side of the planet, a Tibetan Sherpa named Tenzing was earning a living as a porter carrying packs for well-heeled mountaineers as they attempted to be the first to climb Mt. Everest. I wish I could tell you how many failed climbs Tenzing went on as a humble porter. I wish I could tell you because every minute he spent on the mountain carrying other men’s things prepared him for May 29, 1953, when he and Edmund Hillary became the first human beings in history to set foot on the summit.
The next time you see one of your county Farm Bureau board members climbing a mountain, how will you help? The next time you see a shopping cart left in a local, state or federal government parking lot, what are you going to do with it?
There aren’t any secrets for inspiring members of your organization. There aren’t any tricks for a better board meeting. But I can tell you this, if you have the opportunity to quietly take care of a shopping cart, do it. If you get a chance to carry someone’s pack, I hope you take it upon your shoulders and I hope you bear it well. The summit isn’t as far away as you think. Keep your chins up, friends. See you around.
Kyle L. Wilson is a produce farmer in Enterprise, Utah. He has served in numerous county and state Farm Bureau leadership positions in the Young Farmers & Ranchers program and on Promotion & Education Committees. Wilson is also a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Grassroots Outreach (GO) Team and the organization’s current Partners in Advocacy Leadership class.
Farm Bureau County Leader Week is April 19-23. Learn more here.
Scaling Mountains: Reflections from a Farm Bureau Leader
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